Any adventure has a certain element of risk, and our insurance company requires that all passengers sign a standard liability release waiver (copies sent by request), but our record of over 30 years flying without accident resulting in injury is one we are proud of. Our pilots are commercially licensed by the FAA and have many hundreds of hours of experience. The balloons are also licensed by the FAA and maintained to the same high standards as other commercially flown aircraft. We exclusively fly, in our opinion, one of the safest, highest quality, and most expensive make of balloon on the market, and our well-paid pilots and crew do their professional best to provide the best service to you that is possible. Although we are a small business, we don’t cut corners here! Your safety is our number one concern.
Is it cold up there?
It is no colder in the balloon than it is on the ground. There is also no wind chill factor to account for, as we are traveling with the wind. So wear whatever you are comfortable in, with solid shoes (no high heels!). Evening flights land around sunset so you may want to bring a jacket to wear when you land. This is an outdoor experience, we don’t always land on manicured lawns or pavement. Although we try very hard to land in short grass fields, be ready for tall grass or dirt, just in case!
Where do we launch and where do we land?
Prior to your arrival at the BALLOON DEPOT’s meeting site our pilots have been busy compiling weather reports. After you’ve checked in you may see them watching pibals (Pilot Balloons). These tell us the local wind speed and direction. We’ll then board our trucks and drive to the launch site that gives us the longest possible flight that ends in the safest possible landing area. That’s part of the charm of ballooning, every flight is unique!
How high will we go?
Every flight is different. Your pilot will search for the most favorable wind directions from 500 to 5000 feet or more. Most flights are flown between 500 and 1500 feet.
How long does it take?
You should budget around 3 to 3 1/2 hours for the whole occasion and we plan on being in the air for around an hour to an hour and a half or so. Wind speed and direction will dictate the exact length of your flight, so there can’t be any guarantee of exactly an hour’s flight time, but that’s what we aim for. Sometimes more, sometimes a little less! However, if a flight lasts less than 40 minutes, we’ll happily prorate the price.
What if I’m afraid of heights?
Flying in balloons doesn’t bother most people who are afraid of heights. Perhaps it is due to the reassuring bulk of the balloon directly overhead, but folks who would otherwise avoid heights enjoy ballooning tremendously. As far as any other health issues are concerned, just ask us! Everybody’s different, but ballooning isn’t a strenuous activity. Getting in and out of the basket is the hardest part, but we have help available for that part of the experience as well.
How many passengers do the balloons carry?
The smaller balloons carry 4 to 6, and the bigger ones carry 8 to 10 passengers, plus a pilot. For an extra fee we can accommodate just two passengers for a private romantic flight.
What happens if the weather is bad when I’m booked to fly?
Safety is our prime consideration; we will not fly if winds or other conditions are not favorable. When, due to rain, wind or any other adverse weather, the BALLOON DEPOT has to cancel a flight, this information will be available to you two hours before flight time by calling our office. Please do not leave home without confirming that your flight is “on.” It may become necessary to make more than one reservation before the weather will let you fly.
Why should I book my flight with Balloon Depot?
You should fly with us because our chief pilot has been flying hot air balloons as his exclusive profession in this business’ operating area for 30 years. Our chase crew have many years of experience in this valley. Our staff is second to none at making sure your flight is not only as safe as possible, but as wonderful and memorable a balloon ride as is possible for the day you fly. Also, we don’t believe in dissatisfied customers, and we’re small and responsive enough such that when you call, the buck stops there. We don’t have the greatest phone receptionist, we might not have the best ad copywriters, but we are very, very good at flying hot air balloons. Which is more important to you?
Great, now how do I book a flight?
Call the Balloon Depot office at 360.805.1538 or 877.881.9699 and book the morning or evening flight most convenient to you. In summer it’s a good idea to schedule about a week ahead of time. We accept checks, cash and most credit cards over the phone. You can hold a reservation with a credit card and pay on arrival as well, if you wish. If you have received a gift certificate, have the certificate number handy when you call. You may now sit back in anticipation; it will be worth it. We wish you calm winds and gentle landings.
What about refunds?
– Customers will receive a full refund or credit with 48 hours notice of cancellation due to weather at customer’s request. Of course, you are welcome to reschedule your flight for a better day. Contact us at (360)805-1538 to cancel or inquire about a cancellation. No-shows will have their cards charged for the full fare and can fly later, on a space-available basis.
– If we can’t fly due to weather, you will be refunded the full fare at your request, if you make that request within 14 days of your last reservation. You are of course welcome to re-schedule but are under no obligation. Purchased flight certificates are valid for a full year, after which they are valid for the price paid and you will only need to pay the price difference resulting from any rate increase. Come fly with us!